The collar device for officers in the Army Medical Specialist Corps is a gold-colored caduceus with a black enamel letter “S” superimposed in the center. A caduceus was used in 1851 by Hospital Stewards in the Medical Department; the design of the caduceus currently employed in the insignia of various Medical Department Corps was approved in 1902.

One of the six Special Branches of the U.S. Army Medical Department, the Medical Specialist Corps traces its origins to the establishment of the Women’s Army Specialist Corps via Public Law 80-36. At its founding, the Corps was comprised of officers specializing in three professions: Dietitians, Occupational Therapists, and Physical Therapists. Eight years after its creation, the Corps was redesignated the Army Medical Specialist Corps, reflecting the decision to allow the commissioning of male officers. The Corps underwent another significant expansion in 1992, when the Army made the decision to change Physician Assistants from warrant to commissioned officers.

Today, there are still four Areas of Concentration for officers in the Medical Specialist Corps: Occupational Therapist (65A), Physical Therapist, (65B), Dietitian (65C), and Physician Assistant (65D). Additionally, two areas of concentration have been created for Corps members to enjoy on-the-job training as they seek commissioning in one of the four primary areas. Dietetic Students (65C) are drawn from college graduates with a Bachelor’s degree in Dietetic Science (students in their final semester are able to apply), while Physical Therapy Students (65B) can work toward earning their doctorate while serving their country. The 65B program lasts 27 months and its graduates enjoy a 95 percent passing rate on national physical therapy licensing exams.

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